2 3 Ballet Webb: October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fun Friday Ghosts


Fun Friday Ghosts

Here it is:  Halloween!  A day of costumes, candy, and maybe even some ghosts.  And ghosts are the subject of today’s blog.  But I am not going to talk about the ghosts in the second act of Giselle, or even the bewitched swans of Swan Lake.  This is a different thing altogether.

When dancing onstage, lighting makes these magical scenes of other worldly places come alive (no pun intended).  However, sometimes that stage lighting can be problematic.  When finishing a scene or taking a bow, often the lights “fade to black”, creating a dark stage that allows for dancers to exit the stage, or to allow a change of scene or mood.

If the dancers move too quickly when the stage becomes dark, a phenomenon occurs that is sometimes called ghosting.  The dancer can still be seen – but in a ghostlike way.  This can ruin the mood and break the spell of the ballet.  Therefore time must be allotted to allow the audience’s eyes to adjust to the dark stage and prevent them from seeing “ghosts” of the dancers as they break character and run for the wings.  
 
So always hold the final pose for at least a count of “one, one thousand, two, one thousand” before moving.

Happy Halloween!
From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #7ii:  
““When the stage lights go to black, keep your position for at least two seconds.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.”
-          Adam Duritz

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Vaganova


Throwback Thursday and Vaganova

The daughter of an usher at the Maryinsky Theater in Russia, Agrippina Vaganova was exposed to ballet at an early age.  She was born in 1879 and attended the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg.  She graduated in 1897 at age eighteen and joined the Maryinsky corps de ballet. Critics called her the “Queen of Variations” because her solos were performed so beautifully.  She soon caught the eye of  choreographer Marius Petipa. 

After performing for many years, she gave her farewell performance in 1916 and began the teaching career that would make her far more famous than her successful performing career.  Over the years she developed a precise system of teaching ballet  - the Vaganova Method. 

In 1931 she became the Artistic Director of the Kirov Ballet and staged her versions of Swan Lake and Esmeralda.  She held that directorship until 1937, but always continued to teach and train a long series of famous ballerinas.

When Vaganova died in 1951, her teaching method was preserved.  In 1957 the school was renamed The Vaganova Ballet Academy, and today her method is well known.  It is a respected method of training in many countries, including the United States.
                                                                                                                        
From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #53:  
Vaganova was a great Russian teacher who developed the Vaganova method of ballet technique.

                Link of the Day:


Quote of the Day:
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
Albert Einstein            

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wild Wednesday X


Wild Wednesday X

The placement of the working leg (and foot) in à la seconde (to the side) is not as clear-cut as the placement when the position of the foot is in devant (front) or derriere ( back).  This is due to the varying degree of rotation (turn-out) each individual dancer has at any moment in time.  If the dancer is working correctly, a greater degree of rotation will be developed, and then the placement of the foot in à la seconde will gradually change.  The foot will, over time, be placed further back and closer to a “flat” turned-out position without any loss of rotation in the hip socket.

Therefore, it helps to imagine a large X that is drawn on the floor at the exact point the tendu should stop.  This point becomes a target, and one that must be accurately “hit” every time.  The path to this X is straight and direct.  There should be no rond de jambe or circular movement to get to the X – only an absolutely straight pathway.

As the turn-out develops the placement of the X changes:  it will move further back.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #4i:  
“Think of an “X” that marks the exact spot to hit in each tendu à la seconde.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.”




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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Technical Tuesday Turn-out


Technical Tuesday Turn-out

The word instigator is a noun that means “a person who brings about or initiates something”.  Therefore, although not a person, turn-out is a great instigator.  It is turn-out that initiates, or should, many movements.  Unfortunately, it isn’t often thought of in this way.

Instead the focus is always on the feet, the feet, the feet, and how “flat” the fifth position is.  Turn-out (rotation) is so much more!  It is a tool that makes many steps and positions possible.

For example, the next time you do a piqué onto one foot, think about rotating the working leg a little bit extra just before the weight transfers to that leg.  Voila!  The position should be achieved with  better balance and with less effort than if the turn-out hadn’t been used to its full advantage.

This is but a single example, so look for more.  You’ll be surprised how effective this secret is.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #3k:  
“Turn-out is the great instigator.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
-          Anne Frank
-           
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Mad Monday Pliés


Mad Monday Pliés

Ballet Secret #2a states:  Plié like you are in a toaster.  This is true, and it helps keep the dancer’s posture straight and true.  This is how the image must be used.  But when the dancer is coming up from the bottom of a plié, sometimes it appears that they leave the toaster like, well, toast:  they pop upward as though launched by a rocket booster.  The toaster image works best for pliés on the way down.

So toasters can be good and bad.  Good for alignment, bad for upward movement.  So for the return (upward) portion of a plié imagine being in a very slow elevator.  The kind that has glass on three sides and moves at a snail’s pace so the occupants can enjoy the view.

Here is Monday’s thought for pliés:  down in a toaster, up in an elevator.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #2n:  
“Coming out of a plié should be done gently, not like popping out of a toaster.”

                Link of the Day:


Quote of the Day:
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
-Maya Angelou

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Magic


Sunday Magic

It is true that we tend to find those things we actively look for.   But it is easy to drive by a beautiful, flowering tree and not see it at all if our thoughts are focused elsewhere.  Unfortunately, our thoughts seem to have a perverse tendency to focus on negative things and miss all the positive things that surround us.  I’m not sure why that is, but I have observed this to be true.

Make an effort to look for the good.  Look for the beautiful and really notice it – if only while passing by.  Fill your mind with lovely things, just as you would decorate a room in your house with beautiful and memorable items.  It takes practice.  But as dancers, we are all very familiar with that!

With daily practice it will become a habit to seek out the magic in everyday life.  And magic abounds in the world, if one simply looks for it.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Motivational Secret #48:  
“Look for magic in your daily routine.”

                Link of the Day:
One of my favorite videos.  The song “Simple Gifts” is a featured part of my latest manuscript.  Working title:  When the Dancing Stopped; it is a ghost story about love and loss in a Shaker village.


Quote of the Day:
“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”
-          J. B. Priestley

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Super Saturday Recipe


Super Saturday Recipe

Ballet steps are like recipes.  That’s right, recipes.  All the right ingredients must be there, in the proper proportions, in the correct order, and all blended together with an artistic hand.  A recipe worthy of the finest chef in the finest restaurant.

For example, take that coveted series of steps known as 32 fouettés.  Here is the recipe:  the ability to relevé on one leg thirty-two times without fatigue or deviation;  add the ability to go from retiré to développé devant accurately, and from there carry the leg to à la seconde and return to retiré thirty-two times accurately; the ability to spot and focus effectively and without deviation thirty-two times.  Add a consistent and accurate port de bras.  Blend all ingredients together and practice frequently.  (This recipe doesn’t even address the smaller elements such as good posture, proper use of the feet, control of the abdominals and the back, etc.)

You get the idea.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #7hh:  
“Many steps are like a recipe:  all the right ingredients must be there.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Fun Friday Tiny Spotlights


Fun Friday Tiny Spotlights

When the arms are in fifth en haut, it can be difficult to achieve the correct shape in the arms and hands.  This position requires that the elbows rotate back and the palms of the hands face the dancer, not the audience

The shape of the arms has been discussed in several previous blogs, but in high fifth the palms of the hands are often forgotten even if the arms are correctly shaped.  To prevent audience-facing palms in fifth en haut, imagine having small spotlights stuck to the palms.

These spotlights shine on the dancer’s face, illuminating it for all to see.  Of course, these lights should not be allowed to shine in the audience’s eyes, preventing them from seeing and appreciating the dancer’s lovely fifth en haut position.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #6z:  
Imagine tiny spotlights in the palms of the hands.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand.”
Ezra Pound

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Michel Fokine


Throwback Thursday and Michel Fokine

Michel Fokine was a great dancer who studied at the Imperial School in Russia.  But he is best known for his choreography that changed the face of ballet.

His first work was a short ballet staged in 1905 for a student performance at the Imperial School.  That same year he choreographed a solo variation for a friend and fellow dancer .  Her name was Anna Pavlova.  That short solo became Pavlova’s signature piece:  The Dying Swan.

Fokine went on to choreograph more than sixty ballets, and his beliefs about  dance were quite different than the ideas of his day.  He felt that all dancing should serve as expression for dramatic action, and not be simply dancing for the sake of dancing.  He also established the one-act ballet as the norm, at a time when attending a ballet meant seeing a long, evening-length work.

Fokine was active until the last weeks of his life.  He died on August 22, 1942 of pneumonia.  He was 62.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #52:  
Michel Fokine was a great choreographer who popularized the one-act ballet.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it.”
C. JoyBell C.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday


Wonderful Wednesday

It is time once again for yet another Ballet Statute.  This one involves what a dancer should not do with their hands.

I've blogged before about the pathways on which the arms and hands are permitted to move, and doing this correctly helps prevent the dreaded “karate chop”.  This is only appropriate for karate, not for ballet.  There is never a time in classical ballet when the hands slice through the air being led by the outside edge of the hand.  This bad habit is often seen in things like piqué turns.

Instead, the fingertips lead the movement of the port de bras, and the back of the hand is what moves through space – not the edge of the hand as in a karate-style movement.  The reversing of that port de bras would have the inside of the hand (palm and fingers) moving along the prescribed pathways.  When the arms are shaped correctly, the hands will move correctly.

This habitual way of moving the arms is best learned during pliés when it can be repeated and repeated until muscle memory takes over.

From the Itty Bitty Beige Book of Ballet Statutes:

Statute #27:  
“There are no karate hands in ballet.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
““The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.

- Neil deGrasse Tyson's response on Reddit when asked "What can you tell a young man looking for motivation in life itself?"

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Technical Tuesday Dinosaur


Technical Tuesday Dinosaur

When dancers first learn how to correctly hold their arms in first position (fifth en avant), they are often told to imagine holding a giant beach ball.  I use this image myself, but in addition to it I add another one.

Unless the dancer is performing a turn, the actual shape of the arms in this position isn’t perfecty round, like a beach ball.  It is more oblong, since the gentle, curved shape of the arms in ballet is an elongated one.  Therefore when the arms are in fifth en avant, the shape is not a circle, but an oval.  (The exception is during turning movements when the arms may cross over one another making a rounder shape.)

To achieve the correct oval shape, imagine holding a dinosaur egg.  It must be held firmly enough to prevent dropping the large egg, but not so hard that the shell becomes cracked or broken.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #6y:  
Imagine holding a dinosaur egg.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
-          Albert Einstein

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Miraculous Monday Passing Through


Miraculous Monday Passing Through

Every grand battement is made up of two other important steps.  It is just like a recipe:  the ingredients must be correct or the dish will not come out as expected – and might even taste horrible.

In grand battement these two ingredients are tendu and dégagé.  It is important to pass through tendu and dégagé as the leg thrusts upward into the battement, and on the way down the process is reversed, passing through dégagé, then tendu, and finally closing in fifth position.

This is important for the correct impetus (through the use of the foot on the floor), but also for one other big reason.  Passing through these positions assures a fully pointed foot as soon as the foot leaves the ground!  It is like having a policy of Pointed-Foot Insurance for grand battement.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #12d:  
A grand battement must pass through a tendu and a dégagé, on the way up and on the way down.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.”
-          Benjamin Franklin Fairless

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Thinking


Sunday Thinking

Did you think about dance today?  How about yesterday?  Or did you constantly think about some other subject?  These thoughts are big clues about what you should be pursuing.

As today’s thought says: Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.  I would guess that most dancers think about dance a large percentage of the time, and hopefully these thoughts are more positive than negative.  If your thoughts run to the negative side, I suggest changing this thought habit (and thoughts are often habits, after all).

Many dancers reach a point in their training when they decide they are going to leave dance forever and go on to something else.  And that’s okay.  Just be certain it isn't done out of frustration (negative thoughts) and is done because another passion calls.

In my experience, most dancers who leave the dance world return to it, in some capacity.  That's interesting, isn't it?

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #47:  
 “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”
—Ella Fitzgerald

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Super Saturday Statute


Super Saturday Statute

In any movement, in any pose, there is always an equal and opposite energy flow.  This is Statute #26.  This energy may be, and often is, in more than one direction.  This can be a difficult concept for students.  What is energy?  What does it mean and how does it feel?

I believe it is best described as a reaching sensation, or a stretching outward feeling.  The first two directions that are introduced are when the dancer is simply standing with correct posture.  There is a lifting away from gravity with a corresponding sensation of sending energy (like a laser beam) down through the floor and beyond.

Yes, it is a mental thing as well as a physical one.  To get a feel for (no pun intended) this energy flow, imagine reaching for something just barely out of reach.  That extra lengthening is close to the feeling of sending energy outward.  The trick is to create this sensation without using too much tension (i.e. too much energy).  Again, I have found the image of a laser beam to be very effective.

With practice, this equal and opposite energy will become second nature.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Ballet Statue #26:  
“There is always an equal and opposite energy flow.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
““What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.”
Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Fun Friday Sticky Strips


Fun Friday Sticky Strips

There are many items I would like to invent for a dance class.  The one I’m going to talk about today involves the difficulty students have maintaining a level pelvis, because except in high extensions to the back, keeping the pelvis level is critical.  The most common tendency is to tip the pelvis backward – often referred to as “sticking the seat out”.  However, this tipping movement is often very subtle.

Think of strips – like those used in whitening teeth – but longer and wider that are sticky on one side. These strips are placed running up from front the front of the thigh almost to the hip bone.  This is the “teotard line” that I have blogged about before.

These two strips would have sensors that detect any slight deviation from a level pelvis and would either sound an alarm or have flashing lights that would provide immediate feedback allowing the dancer to correct the misalignment.

Of course, there would have to be a way to turn it off for high extensions to the back…hmmm.   So for now we’ll have to keep it as an imaginary image:  teotard strips!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #1hh:  
“Imagine strips on the “teotard” lines that sound an alarm if the pelvis tips backward.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
““A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Geoffrey Holder


Throwback Thursday and Geoffrey Holder

Last week the world lost a great artist and performer.  Geoffrey Holder, probably best known for the commercials he did in the 1970s and 1980s, died from complications of pneumonia.  He was 86.

Geoffrey Holder was a native of the West Indies, and he used this background and his bigger-than-life personality (he was also 6’6”) to rise to fame in dance, choreography, design and painting.  To say that he was multi-talented would be an understatement!

He directed a dance company in Trinidad and Tobago, performed on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera.  In 1975 he won a Tony Award for costume design for the musical “The Wiz”.  He choreographed for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem.  In addition to his performing arts career, he was also an accomplished photographer, painter and sculptor.  He also published a cookbook.

As a child, this pitchman for the “Uncola” struggled with a stutter, and was often laughed at when he had to read aloud in school.  It was his older brother Boscoe who taught Geoffrey to dance, paint and act, and had him join the folkloric group he formed called the Holder Dancing Company.  Geoffrey was seven years old at the time.

Geoffrey Holder said this about his philosophy on his artistic life:  “I create for that innocent little boy in the balcony who has come to the theater for the first time.  He wants to see magic, so I want to give him magic.”

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #51:
“Geoffrey Holder was a dancer and artist whose talents went beyond the dance world.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I paint a slice of life, whatever it is that day.”
-          Geoffrey Holder

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wild Wednesday Waist


Wild Wednesday Waist

Surrounding the body between the lower ribs and just below the belly button, is an area I call “the golden circle”.  It is this area that must be toned and held (muscles engaged) so the postural alignment will be maintained correctly.  It is all too easy to let the abdominal muscles relax, and that causes the back to arch, etc., producing a horrible cascading series of events.

To prevent this, imagine wearing a very wide belt that holds all the abdominal and back muscles in alignment.  This imaginary accessory is tight enough to be a constant, gentle reminder, but it is not uncomfortably tight (breathe!). 

This belt can be imagined in any way the dancer desires:   stripes, bold colors, or even covered with flashing lights.  Whatever makes it work for the individual dancer.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #7gg:  
“Imagine a wide belt that circles the waist – the golden circle.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Albert Einstein

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Terrific Tuesday Toothpaste


Terrific Tuesday Toothpaste

A common problem in rond de jambe en l’air is extending the leg after the rond de jambe with too much force.  This snapping action is not healthy for the dancer because of the stress it places on the knee among other things.  It also makes the movement move difficult to do – which is true of anything that uses excess energy.  Remember Secret #1k:  “Use the energy you need, no more and no less”.

To achieve a long extended movement in a rond de jambe en l’air, imagine a squeezing action, like getting toothpaste out of a tube.  If the tube is squeezed too forcefully it makes a mess!  If it isn’t squeezed enough, no toothpaste will come out.  It must be squeezed “just right”.  It is the same with the rond de jambe en l’air.  Extend the leg as though squeezing toothpaste out of a tube and it should produce a beautifully extended ending to the movement.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #14o:  
In a rond de jambe en l’air, extend the leg gently, like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.”
-Annette Funicello

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Marvelous Monday and Gravity


Marvelous Monday and Gravity

There are many statutes and secrets that speak of things like “…no drooping in ballet”, or “there is always a lengthening on the opposite side of the body”, etc.  All of this comes down to one simple fact:  A dancer is always resisting gravity (Statute #25).

From the moment the hand is placed on the barre, the resistance begins.  It is gentle, but constant.  An ongoing subtle lift away from gravity.  Since we cannot turn gravity off, we must always lift in opposition to it.

This is difficult for beginning dancers, and the temptation is to give in and droop, or the opposite, pull too aggressively upward.  An aggressive attack exhausts the dancer, and drooping, paradoxically, does the same.

So simply imagine a gentle upward resistance.  When you forget - and you will - just pull upward again.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Ballet Statute #25:  

“A dancer is always resisting gravity.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
-          Charles R. Swindoll

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Select A Sense


Sunday Select A Sense

Our five senses are: smell, touch, sight, taste and hearing.  And I would venture to say that most of us take them for granted.  How often do we really stop and savor something we are eating?  How often do we really listen to the varied and ever-changing sounds around us?  I think perhaps we appreciate our vision more than the other senses, when we are riveted by a beautiful sunset, or a spectacular pas de deux.

Today I suggest picking one of the senses and focusing on that particular one all day.  If you choose touch, be aware of the sensations when you touch a soft sweater, a smooth pebble, or just the feeling you get from pulling on a brand-new sock.

If you choose smell, take a walk and notice all the scents that surround you, and how they change as you pass by a rose bush, a freshly mowed lawn, or a coffee shop!

You get the idea.  Pick one a day and you will heighten your appreciation for the world – and the people - that surround you.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Secret #46
“ Select a sense.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.”
Vladimir Nabokov

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Question


Saturday Question

A favorite trick question that many dance teachers ask is this:  “Where does a pirouette finish?”  The incorrect answers students give are varied and often entertaining.

The correct answer is simple:  “on relevé”.  And, usually, in retiré.  This is because the pirouette is a turning movement, and anything that comes after the revolution of the turn has stopped is another step altogether.

This is helpful to remember so the pirouette won’t finish prematurely as the dancer anticipates the next step, thus ruining both the turn and the following position.  Another way to put it is that the next step doesn’t happen until the pirouette (revolution) is finished.

For a wonderful example of a pirouette and how it should end, see today’s video link. 

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #45:  
“Where does a pirouette finish?  On relevé.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
-          Jim Rohn

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Fun Friday Push


Fun Friday Push

Here is a hint that may seem counter-intuitive:  When standing in fifth position, preparing to relevé in passé, as you plié, think of pushing from the foot that is about to be lifted.  This is very effective, largely because the natural inclination is to “sit” on the foot that is about to become the supporting one, thus shifting the weight off two feet and creating an unbalanced preparation.

The actual rule is this:  from fifth position, a dancer must have their weight equally distributed over both feet, and push from both feet to achieve a successful, stable relevé.  This is true.  But by thinking of pushing from the soon-to-be lifted foot, it actually keeps the weight centered.  Sounds crazy, but try it!

It is a bit like using reverse psychology on oneself.  There are other examples of this in ballet technique and I will discuss these in future posts, but this is one of the most common.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #7ee:  
“To move from fifth position to a relevé on one foot (as in retiré), think of pushing from the foot that
 is about to be lifted.”

                Fun Friday Link of the Day:

 Quote of the Day:
(This can work in ballet, too!)
“Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing.
-          Ben Hogan
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Ginger Rogers


Throwback Thursday and Ginger Rogers

Her real name was Virginia Katherine McMath, and she was born on July 16, 1911 in Independence Missouri.  She won a Charleston contest at age 14, and received a 4-week touring contract.  Until the age of  17 she acted and danced in vaudeville.

Ginger Rogers appeared in the Broadway production of Top Speed in 1929.  Her first film was A Night in a Dormitory in 1930, in which she had a small part.  She went on to do more movies and some theater work, until the movie Gold Diggers of 1933 was released and she was discovered by the public.  One song she popularized in the film was We’re in the Money.

But she is best remembered for her famous partnership with Fred Astaire.  They were first paired in Flying Down to Rio in 1933. Many other movies followed including  Top Hat (1935), and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939).  It has been said that she did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.  In the link below, she (and Fred Astaire) dance in roller skates.

In 1940 she acted in Kitty Foyle and won an Oscar.  She continued to act onscreen until her last film Harlow in 1965. She then went on to appear in stage plays, traveling worldwide.  She retired in 1984 and wrote her autobiography, Ginger, My Story.

Ginger Rogers died on April 25, 1995.  She was 83.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #50:  
Ginger Rogers is best remembered for her famous partnership with Fred Astaire.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“The only way to enjoy anything in this life is to earn it first.”
-          Ginger Rogers
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 Leave a comment about any instructions, ideas, or images that worked best for you!